City Needs Resident Feedback On Rezoning Issue
Residents will get the chance to speak up in late January about a developer’s plans to tear down the Shipley Donuts store on Kirby Drive next year and build a new structure for Potbelly Sandwich Works in its place.
To do that, Bob Orkin, the owner of the property at 5800 Kirby Dr., must ask the city to rezone the land into a commercial zone. The city’s Zoning and Planning Commission first considered the rezoning application in mid November and thought it would be best to seek input from West University Place residents before making a decision.
The West U. City Council at its Dec. 14 meeting set a public hearing for Jan. 25 to get feedback about the issue.
Rezoning is necessary because the property at 5800 Kirby Dr. is considered a townhouse district even though it’s been used as a commercial property as long as anyone can remember. It used to be a commercial zone, but in 1974 the Zoning and Planning Commission changed that designation. Two other adjacent properties were also switched from commercial to townhouse.
Because the Shipley property is in a townhouse district, the commercial use is considered a “pre-existing, non-conforming use.” As such, the property owners cannot make substantial changes to their buildings or land.
“Shipley is coming to the end of its lease … They are not going to be around after next year,” said Orkin’s attorney Reid Wilson on Nov. 12 while addressing the Zoning and Planning Commission. “New tenants coming in prefer not to shoehorn themselves into that tiny little building. Even if we put lipstick on the pig.”